RALEIGH, NC - During a long NHL season there are lots of ups and downs.
Right now for the Winnipeg Jets, first periods have been their nemesis. Tonight in Raleigh they fell behind 2-0 five and half minutes into the game and could not recover on route to a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Jets have dropped three straight and have been outscored 8-1 in the opening frame of those games.
"We're getting scored on in the first period. I think if some of those bounces weren't going their way or going against us right now, first period wouldn't be looking as bad," said Blake Wheeler.
"It's not bouncing for us for sure. So I think there is an element of playing from behind every game, it's pretty challenging in this league when you play against good teams."
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
Patrik Laine scored the only goal for the Jets whose record drops to 25-21-4 and they miss out on a chance to make up some ground in pursuit of at least a wild card spot before the All-Star break. Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves as Winnipeg was outshot 29-17 on the night.
"They battled hard, they have good sticks, they play hard. They're a good team," said Mark Scheifele.
"They're tough to generate offence on so maybe a few sustained shifts where we didn't get a shot. But we need more of that tiring teams out, make teams play in their d-zone with their back towards our net. We just have to carry that to tomorrow."
Video: POSTGAME | Mark Scheifele
For the second straight game, the Jets gave up a goal on the first shot of the game. This time at 2:28 of the first when Martin Necas blew past Neal Pionk and then skated around Connor Hellebuyck to backhand in the 1-0 goal.
That deficit went to 2-0 with Sami Niku in the box for hooking, Justin Williams redirected a Teuvu Teravainen pass into the slot for the power play marker. It was the first time the Jets had given up power play goal in five games.
However the Jets didn't take long to get on the scoreboard following the Williams goal. As 56 seconds later, Patrik Laine converted from the slot off a beautiful feed from Mark Scheifele.
With 1:38 to go in the first, Carolina made it 3-1. Hellebuyck made a save on a short side attempt from Sebastian Aho but he picked up the loose puck and spotted a wide open Teravainen on the other side of the net to give the Hurricanes their two goal lead back.
"That team played it's butts off tonight. We're down 3-1, the chances I think are 4-3. We have them 3-3, the broadcasters had them 4-3," said Paul Maurice.
"Listen, I haven't liked some of our games this year. That team played as hard as it could. I've got no beef on the effort. The other team played well too."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
After a scoreless second period, it took until almost halfway through the third for the next one. Williams scored his second of the night tapping in a cross crease pass from Andrei Svechnikov to round out the scoring for the night.
As the game wound down, Scheifele took exception to Svechnikov poking Hellebuyck after the whistle. The Jets centre then went after Brett Pesce and the two dropped the gloves.
"I gave Pesce a little cross check and he fell. Then (Petr) Mrazek tripped me in front of the net and Pesce comes and cross checks me in the face and then he asked me to go," said Scheifele.
"Then I figured I might as well go so that's hockey."
The Jets are 14-10-2 on the road this season and will close out this three game road trip tomorrow night in Columbus.